Review of “Poppy Bloom”

PoppyBloom
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Before I begin, I apologize for keeping you, my romance lovelies, waiting so long for another review. I’ve been super busy with work so it took me longer than I anticipated to get through this book because of it. Otherwise I would’ve finished in a day or two, but things are finally starting to settle. So I don’t foresee this happening in the future.

Now that that’s out of the way, let me start by saying this is not your typical romance book. In fact, I got a very Hunger Games vibe from it right from the get go. Which throws me for a loop because the cover, although it is gorgeous, screams romance! And the story is definitely Dystopian with some romance thrown in, along with a bit of suspense and maybe a few moments of comedy. Oh, plus a couple of times where I absolutely just wanted to smack the ever loving shit out of the characters.

Whoops. Really getting ahead of myself here. Let me back it up a second and tell you what the book is about. Then we’ll go back to slapping some characters around. Ring Synopsis

“Vicki Morel believes she and Will, her gorgeous fiancé, have it all. They’re living the American dream. That is, until Portland, Oregon is leveled by a terrorist grade light weapon, and she loses Will at the airport.

Ambrose Palamo is an aviation student who wants one thing: to go home to Samoa. But when Portland is leveled, and he meets Vicki, he promises to help her find her fiancé instead. What he doesn’t expect is the feelings that start to form for her as they search the dangerous Oregon woodlands.

Sometimes love isn’t what you think it is. spoilers

The poppies bloom reminds them of what they’ve lost, while giving them the courage to face a brand new future.”

All right, that’s out of the way. So onto our last bit of business, your one and ONLY reminder that SPOILERS are AHEAD. Read at your own risk.

myreview

The book opens with Vicki reminding Will of all the things he should have for his trip as they make their final preparations to leave for the airport. This all seems pretty normal, well sort of. The constant sound of gunfire is an everyday occurrence, at least in Vicki’s world. You know what isn’t normal, the way Will acts. Hmm, suspicion is on the rise.

Let me show you what I’m talking about.

“Pushing those thoughts away, she stood on her tiptoes to kiss him, but he turned his head and her kiss landed on his cheek.

‘My girl, partner at an accounting firm.’ He wiped the smudge she’d left on his cheek. ‘Really, Vicki? I don’t need lipstick everywhere, now I do I?’couplebanner

His voice was harsher than she was used to, but she shrugged it off as the stress of him leaving again. She smiled, trying to ignore his admonishment. ‘I’d better get ready if we need to be at the airport in an hour.’ She turned away from him.

Will laughed and playfully slapped her on her rear as she spun around. ‘Are you sure you need to drop me off? I can have Alex call an Uber …’

‘It’s okay. Don’t waste money on those things, they aren’t safe since they went driverless. Besides, I want every moment with you I can get.’ Vicki tossed her hair over her shoulder and skipped up to the master bathroom to finish getting dressed.

In the distance, she heard gunfire, but she just shrugged it off. It wasn’t abnormal to hear in suburbia anymore. Besides, she was about to leave all of this behind and start over. Somewhere safer, she hoped.”

Before I jump ahead, let me explain that Alex is kind of like Alexa/Google … whatever you use and/or call it, except much more sophisticated and attached to glasses that basically serve as mini-computers. Talk about an advance in technology. Takes me back to I-Robot all over again. 

PoppyBloomPromoOff track. This was one of those moments where I wanted to ask Vicki, “Hey, if you’re guy isn’t acting normal, does it cross your mind that there’s a reason for it?” Not that it’s explained at all in the book, but this is the first one of the series. Fact, for all we know, his actions are really normal and she just hasn’t paid it any mind until then.

Needless to say the story must go on. From here we meet the other major player in the game, Ambrose Palamo. Initially I felt bad for him. He’s a dark-skinned guy and from what I’d read, it would be easy to surmise that he got treated like shit fairly regularly. Honestly, the introduction of Ambrose really shines a light on how much the country has gone down hill over the next thirty to forty years. Kind of made me think we jumped back in time where the only way you were right was if you were white. 

Really, you wouldn’t think things could get worse. Then BOOM! A bomb goes off in the airport, police are gunned down and Vicki and Ambrose are running for their lives.

This is also happens to be where the whole romance part comes in. Their relationship kind of develops like this:

I hate you. -> You’re an okay piece of shit. -> All right, you’re not a piece of shit. You’re kind of nice. -> Hey, you’re kind of good looking. -> Oh shit. I think I’m attracted to you. -> Fuck, I’m actually attracted to you. -> Man, I kind of like you. -> Actually, I do like you.LDPromo

I would’ve laughed at this, except I wanted to slap the shit out of Vicki and Ambrose about 90% of the time. She whined like crazy and he was just a dick. Then somewhere in the middle of nowhere they managed to get their crap together and act like decent human beings. It was then that I started to change my mind about them. Somewhere around “You’re kind of nice.”

As you can imagine with the two of them on the run, there is a hell of a lot of suspense. Though I did have to wonder what was up with all of the yelling. Then again, maybe it was all the adrenaline rushing through their bodies that made them scream and holler a lot of the time like a bunch of banshees. I really could’ve foregone most of that.

And yet amongst the consistent page turning, I found a few of my favorite lines.

  1. “The skinny white girl, Vicki, didn’t seem to have any skills besides panic and anxiety.” (I’ll admit it, I shared this sentiment with Ambrose. It’s a good thing we were both wrong.)
  2. “He wrapped strong arms around her, closing her fists to her side, and threw her up on his shoulder.” (Get your mind out of the gutter! We haven’t hit the romance part yet and you certainly won’t find that in this book.)
  3. “Was he as stupid as he looked? America was being invaded, and there was no one to stop them.” (Okay, I might have snickered a little at this. What? It was funny that Vicki thought for about 2.5 seconds that Ambrose was stupid.)
  4. “The intense stare of his bright eyes was uncomfortable. Combined with the dark shade of his hair, it was such a stark contrast.” (I think this is where the shift was sort-of noticed.)
LavenderDreams
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That’s all you get. If I give you anything else, then I’ll give the whole story away. And aside from a few bumps and bruises I collected along the way, it was a decent read. There were a couple of issues I had, but not enough to make me put it down. Though I give fair warning, it DOES end on a cliffhanger … almost literally. 

And that’s all I’m going to say about it. The good news is that Book 2, Lavender Dreams, releases December 4th. In fact, you can pre-order it now. I’ve already got my order in, so what are you waiting for?

Oh. I guess you want my rating. All right. Here we go.

Overall, I give this book 

4-four-star

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Review of Abby’s Promise

AbbyPromise
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I LOVED this book! It was sweet with a splash of sexy and a hint of comedy all mixed into one. Sounds like the best kind of drink if you ask me! There were moments that made me laugh, some where I wanted to cry, and others that I just wanted to beat the snot out of someone. Like I said, it was a GREAT story. But let me not get ahead of myself.

If you’ve been following me on Townie Critics, then you know how this works. Synopsis, spoiler warning, followed by full review and my final rating at the end. Now that we’re all caught up, let’s get this road on the show.

 

Ring Synopsis

Abby and Joey parted ways eight years ago when he joined the Marines. They had maintained some contact, but it dwindled over time until they stopped speaking all together. Now back in town, Joey wants to reconnect, but Abby isn’t all that interested. Or is she? Even if she is, there are several people who want nothing more than to keep them apart. Can they get past all the drama and find their way to one another?spoilers

Now that you know the premise, this is your one and only warning that there are SPOILERS AHEAD. Continue reading at your own risk.

The story starts off with a text between Abby and Joey. Something he’s recalling from eight years earlier. It took me a second with this because Abby apparently gave him the nickname “Jo-Jo.” I couldn’t quite get used to that. Mostly because I couldn’t imagine a guy being nicknamed “Jo-Jo.” Though, now that I think about it, I could absolutely see a feminine woman calling her best guy friend named Joseph, “Jo-Jo.” Anyway, so Joseph is on his first day of college and he’s thinking about Abby. They haven’t yet crossed paths, but we all know it has to happen soon. Then we find out Abby went to college to teach. I was absolutely giddy at this point because I knew what would happen.

Abby would turn out to be Joseph’s professor. That alone spelled trouble! Though I certainly didn’t imagine everything else that would be going on. Kidnapping, fights, jail, asshole parents … okay, maybe that’s a bit strong … self-righteous would be more appropriate. Maybe even indignant. But I get to that later.

Within the first few chapters, we learn rather quickly that both Joseph and Abby have been through some things. Joseph fought in the war and that certainly left a mark on him. Then there’s family, his father mostly. I have never wanted to punch the shit out of a character more than I did Joey’s father! The guy was an absolute tool! Dickhead! Scoundrel. You get the picture.

As for Abby, she isn’t just the mother of a two-year-old, but she’s also a widow. Another mark left by war and this is one of the reasons she initially pushes Joey away. As the story goes on, we discover more about what happened to Abby’s late husband. This made me feel for her. Yes, she had her daughter and her family, but sometimes that isn’t enough. And while Joey had been her first love, she isn’t quite ready to take another leap, at least not without some encouragement.

AbbyPromise1And that is where we get our romance and hot as hell moments from!  Because sometimes you just can’t fight the feeling. Which means all it takes is a small glimpse of hope. It takes a couple of days, but Abby gives Joey just what he needs. “My heart lifted. It wasn’t a no, but a maybe another time. That gave me hope.” This leads to an offer for him to babysit while she’s teaching. Which can only go one direction.

Comedy! It would have been nice to see Joey babysitting from his point of view, except then the story might have dragged on a little. So the summaries we get by texts between Joey and Abby were the right way to go. And I definitely laughed. My favorite line, “YOU DIDN’T TELL ME THEY POOP THIS MUCH.”

Though, Abby’s reaction was pretty amusing too. “I stared at his text and started to laugh. I could just imagine the look on his face, changing my daughter. What is this? What is that? Why is there so much? He would be disgusted, amused, and freaking out.”

Seriously? Abby’s daughter is going on two. Kids do four things at that age: sleep, play, eat, and poop. What else did he expect? I’m just saying.

This was also pretty sweet. The way Joey got along with Abby’s daughter, how he entertained her, and it just made him look sexier to Abby. Not that was ready to admit it. And honestly that made me LOVE the story more. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a good sex scene, but with these two we actually got to see them falling in love with one another.

While I don’t want to give too much away, I will leave you with three more of my favorite lines.

  1. “As if to let me know, Zoey promptly hit me on the top of my head. ‘Go!’ she squealed.”
  2. “My sister was laughing now. ‘Jesus Christ, ya’ll need a hotel room or what?’”
  3. “‘You’re the giver of wood, Abby Jameson.’”

Following their journey is what made this book so wonderful! Not only did these two have to overcome the history they had with each other, but they also had to battle the demons that had crept in while they were apart. This was a great read!

With that said, I give it …

5-Star